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April Fools… and overheard: things only an anthro would say

2 April, 2009

A couple of quick things.  First, did anybody else get pranked by the AAA’s April Fools Day joke?  Unfortunately, it seems like it wasn’t a deliberate joke.  The AAA website said clearly in several places that the call for papers would end April 1st, 5pm EST.  But when I went to put in my abstract at about 2am on April 1st, it got rejected saying that the call for papers had closed at midnight!  Even though the very same page that was telling me that the call for papers had closed also said that the deadline was 5pm. I called the number listed at the bottom of the page and a very annoyed-sounding call service guy (who basically just takes messages all night long for the AAA — I was rather surprised that they had something like this!) said, “No ma’am, this is not a joke.  I do not have time for jokes.”

So a U.S.-based colleague who was organizing our panel called the AAA first thing in the morning.  Some guy lectured to her about how the deadline was midnight.  After she patiently explained, he said he’d call her back.  I reckon they must have gotten a lot of pissed off calls because a few hours later, the deadline had been extended to 11:59 pm on April 1st.

Tidbit #2: Overheard. An e-mail came around this week from an old friend to a group of former classmates. Rachel was wondering which digital tape recorder she should buy for an upcoming stint of fieldwork.  She wrote,

A while back, Sarah recommended the Edirol R-9, which I think she had just bought at the time but hadn’t yet used. I’m wondering if the rest of you have recommendations for recorders you have used, or if Sarah would report to the rest of us how she liked it.

Sarah responded,

I did like the Edirol.  A lot.  It is very very easy to use, I didn’t get confused and accidentally have the thing on standby when I thought it was recording, as happened when I used my ipod to record interviews, and the quality is good.  My only complaint is that the battery door thingie is very tricky and I would imagine it is very easy to accidentally snap off, which would make the machine unusable.  But I was just careful with it, and never had a problem, though if you record in the dark (evening music performances, exorcisms, that kind of thing) and have to change batteries quickly it could be tricky.

Don’t you love it?  “Evening music performances, exorcisms, that kind of thing” — something that only an anthropologist would say!  When we pointed that out to Sarah, she said,

I actually did encounter this situation, though for the most part those settings, the trance/exorcisms were relatively well lit, except when the electricity went out.

–L.L. Wynn

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